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Review: Air Display - iPad As An External Monitor?

August 11, 2010


Having an external second monitor set up can be costly, and a bit of a hassle. Well Air Display turns your iPad into a second monitor for your Mac cutting out the hassle, and huge cost. For $9.99 you can have a 1024 x 768 display set up in under a minute, and the app is universal now for iPhone support.


The app only works with Mac OSX, and you have to have the iPad on the same WiFi network as the computer. You simply install the Mac software, turn on Air Display, click on iPad, and you're all set up. You simply drag any applications to the left off the screen, and they appear on the iPad.

The Good

The app is super simple to set up and use so that anyone can be up and running in no time. Once everything is set up it's simple to have applications on the iPad when you simply don't have room on your Mac. As stated earlier you can drag them over, or you can use Spaces, and the iPad acts as an extra space to drag an application to. This works great to be able to look at something for reference while working on your Mac. You can even interact with applications via touch screen on your iPad, and it works easily. Your mouse/trackpad and keyboard still work on the iPad side so you can have a chat, mail, word document client, etc. This is a really great alternative to investing in a whole other monitor that you have to connect physically. It's an especially good alternative if you have a MacBook as it's a lot easier to take an iPad with you than an extra monitor.

The Bad

The extra monitor doesn't work for everything mainly because the connection isn't the smoothest. Running a video, or something similar runs frame by frame so anything in motion is pretty much out of the question. It's not going to replace an external monitor in some cases so just know what you want to use it for. You could always watch the video on your Mac, and put the non motion apps on your iPad, and still interact with them. You just have to understand how you would use it, and it will work in most situations. The app was recently updated to be universal, but the iPhone doesn't offer much screen space, and there were connection losses on the iPhone though they were never experienced on the iPad.

The Verdict

Air Display does exactly what it says it will, turning your iPad into an extra monitor with the greatest of ease. It's easy to get Mac applications over to the iPad, and it works in a number of situations. You just need to know what you want an extra monitor for, and Air Display will work in most situations, though it's not for everything. The app is high quality, but it depends on the situation. Air Display is a should buy for $9.99 if you're considering an external display.

Mentioned apps

Air Sharing HD
Air Sharing HD
Avatron Software, Inc.
Air Sharing for iPhone & iPod touch
Air Sharing for iPhone & iPod touch
Avatron Software, Inc.

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